Browse Our Blogs

  • What is Navigation-quality Positioning Anyways - and Why Does It Matter?

    A while back, we blogged about what are the key requirements and characteristics of Indoor Navigation in What Exactly is Indoor Navigation Matter Anyways - and Why Does It Matter? In

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  • Connexient, SNCF, Unibail Rodemco and Schneider Electric Discuss Indoor Navigation and Location Service at Pole Star Connect

    PoleStar Connect Day SNCF, Unibail Rodemco, Schneider Electric and Connexient discuss use cases and strategic value of indoor positioning and navigation Last week I had the opportunity to participate in

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  • Wayfinding Design for Understanding:  A Classic Position Paper

    I recently came across this position paper called: Wayfinding Design for Understanding published by the outstanding Center for Health Design. https://www.healthdesign.org/knowledge-repository/wayfinding-design-understanding https://www.healthdesign.org/sites/default/files/WayfindingPositionPaper.pdf While it was published in 1992 - and thus

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  • What Exactly is Indoor Navigation Anyways - and Why Does It Matter?

    Connexient was founded with a singular, driving vision:  to develop and deliver a true turn-by-turn indoor navigation experience that would be as intuitive and useful as that which billions of

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  • Accenture Study: Superior Patient Experience Can Yield Up to 50% Higher Margins

    Any one that has ever been to a large hospital medical center - or worked at one - understands intuitively the very real and negative impact of poor wayfinding on Patient Experience.

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Uber Can Seem Like Magic

If you are the Digital Native type, it's hard to imagine the world now without Uber. If you try hard, you can think back to those days - a couple of years ago! - when we all actually would have to call for a taxi. If you were lucky enough to get a person called a 'dispatcher', there was usually a long and uncertain wait ahead.

UBER app

Or think of all that wasted energy spent in any major urban city when the rain starts falling, waving hopelessly at cabs that are all full.

Uber changed all of that - instantly it seemed, almost like someone had waved a magic wand. You open an app, request a car and within seconds you receive a confirmation and estimated time or arrival that is usually just a few minutes later. You calmly finish sipping your coffee and stroll outside to meet your private driver. All that for a substantial discount off the same ride in a taxi.

But There's No Magic: Just Navigation Quality Positioning and Maps - and Smartphones

But Uber is not magic. It is just a tremendously compelling example of the transformational power of combining:

  1. navigation quality positioning;
  2. navigation quality maps; and
  3. ubiquitous smartphones.

Once those three foundations are in place, the rest is all software. Add a few crucial pieces of business logic and filtering and suddenly, thousands of independent actors - drivers on one side and people looking for a ride on the other - are able to self-organize a hyper-efficient operation for ride sharing.

None of this is meant to diminish Uber's achievement in the quality of its user experience, technical execution, incredibly rapid scaling and operational expertise. It's simply to point out that from the standpoint of software, there is nothing particularly unique or difficult about it.

Navigation Quality Positioning and Maps Will Create Similar Opportunities for Efficiency Gains Indoors

To us this seems blindingly obvious. Sure, the first "killer application" of high quality indoor positioning and maps is navigation, and that is where we have focused our energies as we entered the market.

RWJUH app

But that truly is just the tip of the iceberg. Navigation itself is really just an enabling User Experience. We always start our product meetings by reminding ourselves that no patient or visitor to a hospital comes to have "an Indoor Navigation experience." They come to get to their appointment. Our mission is to make that as painless - hopefully even pleasurable - and efficient as possible, and Indoor Navigation is one of the best ways to achieve that.

But we also spend a lot of time thinking about what other users and use cases would benefit from navigation - and navigation quality maps and indoor positioning. The list is a long one - ranging across operations, work flow, security, facility management an more.

It is absolutely clear that over time all the same benefits in terms of operations, logistics, analytics and business intelligence that have accrued from outdoor GPS and navigation will translate to large, complex indoor facilities, campuses and networks. 

The Uber-ization of the Enterprise

We call this concept the Uber-ization of the Enterprise. Sure - in part because its a catchy phrase. But it also captures what is essential - and somewhat underappreciated today - about the revolution of Indoor Mapping, Navigation and Location-services. That is: there is no one killer app, but rather successive waves of innovation to come, each with increasing efficiency gains.

When the government blasted all those GPS satellites into space and NavTech (far before Google) set about building navigation quality maps of the world, nobody was thinking about competing with taxis. And even Uber itself is no longer thinking about competing just with taxis, but more generally about "revolutionizing transportation and logistics."

So yes, its not a stretch in our view to think that we can help our Enterprise clients - or more specifically the people that must get around their very large and complex facilities, campuses and networks - to self-organize and coordinate their navigation and flow to achieve big gains in efficiency.

One Example:   Our New Shuttle Tracker Feature

We are going to be breaking new ground in a number of important areas in our deployments this Fall. . One that speaks to directly to this concept is integrating the location data of campus shuttle vans directly into our mobile application. Here we can take advantage of our unique ability to:

  1. close the gap between the Indoor Map and the Outdoor Map; 
  2. track the position of the user; and
  3. integrate and display the position of other users - or in this case vehicles;

to provide a service that is truly compelling, useful - and transformative in at least this small part of the user experience.

Our Shuttle Tracker feature will enable us to show users:

  1. where the nearest shuttle van is currently on the map; 
  2. provide its estimated time of arrival to the pick-up location closest to that user; and of course
  3. get that user to their pick-up location efficiently and on time to meet their shultte with turn-by-turn indoor navigation.

No - these are shuttle vans - so you won't be to order one to come pick you up on demand. Not yet, anyways! But that's definitely the direction this can head.

In the meantime, we can make the user's experience of waiting for that van a lot better by giving them visibility into what is going on. No more staring at your watch and wondering. Sip your coffee and relax! Or, if you are just leaving an appointment, we can provide your estimated time-to-destination inside the building- and compare that to the Van - to check if you will make the next pick-up!

This is just the first step. It's not too hard to imagine where we can go step-by-step as the app is deployed Enterprise wide - to caregivers, operations, security, drivers, vendors - anyone that needs to get around this enormous campus and complex buildings.

Stay tuned for more on that as we get closer to launch!

Would you like to learn how Connexient MediNav can bring Indoor Navigation and Shuttle Tracker to improve Patient & Visitor Experience, increase efficiency and capture lost revenue for your organization?

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eHealthcare Strategy LogoRecently, eHealthcare Strategy & Trends published an article on the launch of MediNav at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and our deployment at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD.

The full length "digital reprint" of the article came out yesterday and can be found here:

The first part of the article - focused on RWJ Find My Way - does an excellent job of describing the issue of Wayfinding at large, complex facilities and how Indoor Navigation with MediNav can vastly improve and transform that important element of Patient Experience. The second section, focused on our deployment at the NIH, also addresses in addition the staff version and some of the broader use cases we will support.

See the RWJ Find My Way Video

The Importance of Campus-Wide and Network-Wide Wayfinding

One thread that runs through the article is the importance of addressing Campus-wide and Network-wide wayfinding. Often getting to the right building - and the right parking garage or location - is very confusing and difficult for an arriving patient or visitor. As a consequence, people are lost before they even get there!

“We are a very large campus,” says Joanne Arico, RN, BSN, Director of Patient Experience at RWJUH. “We take up several city blocks.” She describes a labyrinth of buildings, hallways, bridges, parking garages, and several information desks where patients check in . . . We noticed we had a lot of patients that were in one building that needed to be in another building."

With over 20 years of experience in Wayfinding for Hospitals and Healthcare Networks, we have always understood the importance of this issue and our Parking Planner feature was designed to solve it.

Even after a user parks and arrives at your campus - whether that be an actual campus space or an urban campus spread across a part of a city - he or she will often have to navigate to and between buildings. The NIH is a great example of this.

"The vast complex that houses the National Institutes of Health (NIH) spans 322 acres and can be challenging for both patients and staff to navigate. “We have three and a half million square feet under one roof, so it’s understandable where a patient could get turned around here,” says Eric Cole, Chief Administrative Officer at NIH Clinical Center.

That's where our end-to-end, integrated indoor and outdoor approach to Wayfinding is so critical.

Connexient's Google Maps Integration - Filling the Crucial Gaps

To address this problem of campus navigation, Connexient will leverage its integration of Google Maps to provide additional layers of map information and functionality to seamlessly connect the outdoor and indoor lets of a users journey. With our Enterprise Grade Mapping Services, Connexient can fill in the crucial gaps that will always be in a Google Map. The problem is that Google does not - and can not - know your organization and facilities, nor have the indoor maps of your facilities.

Connexient ensures that the user will get not just to an address, but to the right entrance - and then from there turn-by-turn to your indoor location. Even when there is not an indoor map of a building, our understanding of your organization, campus and network will ensure that users are guided correctly and accurately to their destinations.

The Next Step: Transport Van and Vehicle Logistics

One very interesting next step we will be taking with the NIH is integrating location data for transport vans. This will enable users of MediNav to do things like see the current location of transport vans, get their current ETA (estimated time of arrival) to the user's location and so on. This can be tremendously helpful, enabling users - just as we all do with Uber today - to be more productive and comfortable, rather than having to wait out on a curb, for example.

This capability will also be applied in the Staff version of MediNav more generally for Enterprise logistics - helping to coordinate all the different vans, golf carts, vendor vehicles making deliveries and so on that are used in operations.

We call that the Uber-ization of the Enterprise! More to come on that in future blogs!

To learn how Connexient can provide Indoor Maps, Navigation and Location Services improve Patient & Visitor Experience, increase efficiency and capture lost revenue for your organization, please contact us.

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This article focuses on one of the most valuable early use cases in Healthcare - and generally for Tango - being prototyped at Purdue University.

http://www.jconline.com/story/news/college/2015/04/25/purdue-project-tango/26367505

While the "beeping" UI here has a specific context and use case based on similar tools that the visually impaired already use, it seems ripe for enhancements with voice and other audio prompts

This use case highlights and draws on some of the things that are truly unique to Tango. With BLE or Cisco-based navigation-quality indoor positioning, for example, our MediNav Navigator could easily help to guide a visually impaired user end-to-end across a large facility, as well as provide location-based information and services that are useful. But it would be only a partial solution at best.

With Tango, on the other hand, we will be able to not only navigate the user, but literally see the environment for them. Tango can recognize spatial relationships and objects in way far more similar to how our own brains do. This makes it possible to help the visually impaired both avoid obstacles on this journey and also embed information about the environment and objects that are useful.

One very simple example of this would be recognizing and being able to guide the user precisely to a water fountain. Or point their device towards a wall, perhaps, and scan and read all the signs and options that are on it. The key point is that almost all of the things in terms of navigating an environment that the "sighted" person takes for granted and are so difficult for the visually impaired now becomes possible again.

There is a good stretch of road ahead to make all this practical as a complete solution and ready in a market sense, but the number of ways that Indoor Navigation + Augmented Reality can be combined for user benefit seem almost endless!

 

To learn how Connexient can provide Indoor Maps, Navigation and Location Services improve Patient & Visitor Experience, increase efficiency and capture lost revenue for your organization, please contact us.

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